The first major global senior hockey tournament since Tokyo Olympics is here as the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup Spain & Netherlands 2022 begins on 1 July. is the 15th women’s edition of the Hockey World Cup, albeit the first to be jointly hosted by two nations.
The ever-consistent Netherlands are the reigning champions and have won more women’s World Cups than any other nation, having claimed the title on eight occasions. The Oranje’s nearest rivals in terms of the title count are Argentina, Australia and Germany (playing as West Germany). These teams have each won the trophy twice. The most recent winner, apart from the Netherlands, is Argentina, who won the World Cup in 2010.
Meanwhile, the Indian women’s hockey team that will feature in Pool B in the tournament, has been making steady progress in the past few years, moving up the FIH World Rankings as well as making the cut for the major events. Rio 2016 was India’s first Olympic appearance since 1980, but it was their astonishing run and the stunning fourth-place finish at Tokyo Games that really caught the attention of the hockey world. This year, India’s women took part in the FIH Hockey Pro League and produced some incredible performances, finishing third in their debut season.
India are coached by former Netherlands defender and USA women’s coach Janneke Schopman, who took charge of the team following compatriot Sjoerd Marijne’s departure after the Tokyo Olympic campaign. A third-place finish at the Asia Cup 2022 in Muscat, Oman sealed their ticket to this event.
They are without Rani Rampal for this event. The star striker had made her comeback in the Pro League recently after a long injury layoff but after making her 250th appearance, she didn’t play the remaining five matches of the leg and was left out of the squad.
Coach Janneke Schopman was quoted as saying by Hockey India that Rani had not fully recovered from injury rehab.
“We have chosen the best squad for the World Cup. It is a mix of experience and young talent who have shown great promise when they were given a chance against top teams in the FIH Pro League,” the Dutch coach said.
“Except Rani, who is still not fully recovered from injury rehabilitation, the team has all the players who were part of the Olympic campaign with inclusions like Jyoti and Sonika who have done well in their roles when given a chance. We will also have Sangita and Akshata who will travel with the team as replacement players. The team is absolutely excited and eager to begin their World Cup campaign and we will utilize the next ten days to fine tune our game basis analysis from Pro League performances,” added Schopman, the 2008 Olympic champion with Netherlands.
Captain Savita Punia: “Personally, I believe today in hockey, every team is good. Of course, England, China and New Zealand are good teams. We’ve already played against them. But we have to focus on ourselves first. We will go match by match. We have to play together and we’ll see.”
Rank in previous World Cup editions:
1974 – 4th, 1978 – 7th, 1983 – 11th, 1998 – 12th, 2006 – 11th, 2010 – 9th, 2018 – 8th.
Goalkeepers: Savita Punia (C), Bichu Devi Kharibam
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (VC), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita
Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Sonika, Salima Tete
Forwards: Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi
Replacement Players: Akshata Abaso Dhekale, Sangita Kumari
Players to watch out for: Salima Tete, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Neha Goyal, Sharmila Devi, Gurjit Kaur, Savita Punia
India fixtures during Phase 1
A grudge match will kick off India’s campaign as they take on Tokyo bronze medallists (well, effectively as they were GBR then) in the opening match.
July 3, Sunday, 20:00 IST, Amsterdam: England vs India
July 5, Tuesday, 20:00 IST, Amsterdam: India vs China
July 7, Thursday, 23:00 IST, Amsterdam: India vs New Zealand
Pools in the FIH Women's World Cup
|Pool A||Pool B||Pool C||Pool D|
Winners in previous editions
|1976||West Berlin, West Germany||West Germany|
|1981||Buenos Aires, Argentina||West Germany|
|1983||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||Netherlands|
|2014||The Hague, Netherlands||Netherlands|
All the teams will play against each other in each pool, and the following points will be awarded for each match : - three points to the winner; - one point to each team in the event of a draw.
Teams will be ranked according to the number of points each has accumulated in the competition.
a) If at the end of the pool matches two or more teams have the same number of points for any place in a pool, these teams will be ranked according to their respective number of matches won.
b) If there remains equality among two or more teams, then these teams will be ranked according to their respective goal difference (which means “goals for” less “goals against”). A positive goal difference always takes precedence over a negative one.
c) If there still remains equality among two or more teams, then these teams will be ranked according to their respective number of “goals for”’.
d) Should there still remain equality among two teams, then the result of the match played between those teams will determine the ranking of the tied teams.
e) If more than two teams are involved, then a ranking based upon the results of the matches among (only) them shall determine their respective position.
...there are a few more tiebreaks, which we will get to later if needed.
The winners of the pools will play directly in the quarter-finals. The teams that finish 2nd and 3rd in the pools play cross-over matches as follows although the matches will not necessarily be played in this order.
The winners of these crossover matches will play in the quarter-finals. The winners of the semifinal matches will play for 1st and 2nd places (the final) and the losers will play for 3 rd and 4th places
Here is a brief overview of each pool at the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup Spain & Netherlands 2022, starting with India’s.
Pool B has all the makings of a highly competitive set of matches. All four teams – China, England, India and New Zealand – have undergone major rebuilding in the past few months and all four are teams that will have serious podium aspirations. It could well turn out to be the tightest group.
Under the coaching team led by two-time FIH Coach of the Year Alyson Annan, China has shown in recent FIH Hockey Pro League matches that the team is making giant steps forward in combining Asian structure and high technical ability with the creativity and hard work ethic espoused by their coach.
China qualified with a fourth place finish at the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup 2022. Their appearances at previous Women’s World Cups has not been auspicious. The best finish was third in 2002 and in 2018 they finished in 16th place. However, this team has some serious talent within its ranks and will be hoping to enjoy a far greater performance than four years ago. Drag flick specialist Gu Bingfeng presents danger at every penalty corner; the speedy and skilful Zheng Jiali can twist and turn through any defence; Li Hong is tall, quick and a fantastically brave first runner at penalty corners and goalkeeper Liu Ping has astonished spectators with her shot-stopping ability.
England is also a team that has not achieved the heights at previous World Cups it would have hoped for. A third place finish in 2010 is the best result for David Ralph’s team and he will be hoping the team, led by stalwart Hollie Pearne-Webb, will be peaking at just the right time.
Pearne-Webb has some worthy lieutenants within the squad. Maddie Hinch is still one of the best goalkeepers in the world; barring injury Laura Unsworth will reach 300 caps at this event; Giselle Ansley, Lily Owsley and Shona McAllin all bring huge experience. Newer members of the squad include the attack-minded Tessa Howard, the super-skilful Hannah Martin and speedy Elena Rayer. The question is whether the team is still too immersed in its development stage.
Under the leadership of Dutch superstar Janneke Schopman, India have grown and matured in recent months. In the FIH Hockey Pro League, they beat the Netherlands 2-1 (albeit not a full-strength side) and they finished the Pro League in third place, despite being late entrants to the event.
India qualified for the event via a third place finish at the Asia Cup 2022. The team is packed full of talent and their signature style of play is fast, flowing hockey that involves swift passing through the lines of play. Gurjit Kaur is always a danger from the top of the circle and Savita is a steady rock at the other end of the field as she guards the India goal. Vandana Katariya, Neha Goyal, Salima Tete, Sharmila Devi and Navneet Kaur are a few creative players who will relish this chance on the big stage.
New Zealand are the unknown quantity in Pool B. They have not been seen outside Oceania since the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 but there has been a huge amount of change in the squad since then.
Olivia Merry continues to lead the attack and will be hopeful of adding to her incredible international scoring record. She is joint captain along with midfield stalwart Megan Hull and Head Coach Darren Smith and his coaching staff will be looking to these two players to lead a team that includes six players with less than 10 caps.
While New Zealand might have missed out on international experience in recent months, they have spent a huge amount of time preparing for this event and will be fit and ready to step back into the limelight.
The four teams competing in Pool A bring with them a range of styles and experiences that will provide some fascinating match-ups.
Chile’s first ever appearance at the World Cup comes courtesy of a second place finish at the Pan American Cup. The team, known as Las Diablas, beat USA in the semi-final of the Pan American Cup in Santiago on shoot-out and the celebrations of the home crowd and the delight of the players demonstrated just what this achievement means.
For players such as Claudia Schuler, the goalkeeper who starred in that shoot-out, Camila Caram and Manuela Urroz, this has been a long time coming. All three have more than 200 caps apiece and bring a wealth of experience with them. Add into the mix the fire-power of Denise Losada-Krimerman and the energy of newer squad members such as Francisca Parra and Fernanda Arrieta and you know that the South American side could be a disruptive force at this event.
Coach Sergio Vigil has a great coaching pedigree as he steered Argentina to gold in the 2002 Women’s World Cup in Perth, Australia.
The team sealed their place at this year’s World Cup with a silver medal at the EuroHockey Championships 2021 and they have been growing in stature ever since.
Germany has been crowed World Cup winners twice, in 1976 and 1981, and many observers consider a third title is long overdue for the European powerhouse.
Head Coach Valentin Altenburg has a wealth of talent at his disposal. Strikers such as Charlotte Stapenhorst, Cecile Pieper, Leena Micheel and Pia Maertens can rip defences apart and then there are the cool heads of Nike Lorenz and Sonja Zimmermann in the midfield and defence to provide the platform from which Germany can play their flowing hockey. Anything less than a podium finish will be a disappointment to this squad.
All eyes will be on Ireland to see if they can repeat their fairytale result from the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018. A silver medal after a momentous journey through the pool and knock-out stages was the defining memory of 2018. The team qualified as winners of the 2021 European Qualifier in Pisa, Italy and this will be their fifth appearance at a World Cup.
Many of the 2018 squad remain, including the 2018 Goalkeeper of the Tournament Ayeisha McFerran, the inspirational Katie Mullan and the experienced campaigners Elena Tice and Deirdrie Duke. Young guns Sarah McAuley and Christina Hamill will be adding flair and fearlessness to a squad that lacks neither.
The fourth team to make up Pool A needs no introduction. The triumphs of the Netherlands over the past two decades makes for glorious reading if you are an Oranje fan. The team qualified through victory at the EuroHockey Championships 2021. They have won the World Cup on eight previous occasions, including the previous two editions.
A team full of superstars was buoyed in recent days by the return to the squad of one of the greatest contemporary players, Eva de Goede. The midfielder underwent an ACL operation in November 2021 and has been fighting to get back to the squad for this World Cup.
Add to de Goede the names Lidewij Welten, Frederique Matla and the incredible Xan de Waard and you are looking at a group with a huge number of World Cup and Olympic trophies to their names. Those athletes are now joined by the exciting new talents such as Freeke Moes, penalty corner specialist Yibbi Jansen and the fleet-footed Felice Albers.
Pool C is likely to provide an intriguing mixture of teams that play with passion and flair pitted against teams where pragmatism is the watchword. Argentina and Spain are capable of fiery moments of brilliance, Korea and Canada will counter with structure and discipline.
Argentina arrive in Terrassa on the back of a rich vein of form after winning the FIH Hockey Pro League in some style. Where other teams have been tinkering with their line-ups and trying a range of squad members, Fernando Ferrara, the Head Coach, has been playing much the same squad for the past three months.
Las Leonas have an embarrassment of riches within its ranks. Agustina Gorzelany is brilliant at drag flicks but equally classy in a defender’s role. Sisters Maria and Victoria Granatto are pure brilliance as they create scoring opportunities with skill and clever movement. Agustina Albertarrio is imperious as she goes on the attack. The less flamboyant but equally effective athletes such as Eugenia Trinchinetti, Jimena Cedres and Rocio Sanchez are crucial to the team’s success. Belen Succi at the back is the rock upon which they can build. Make no mistake, this is a team that has golden ambitions.
Canada’s best moments in FIH Women’s World Cup history came back in the 1980s when they finished second in 1983 and third in 1986. Since 1994 they haven’t been seen at a World Cup and so will be hoping to make a renewed impact.
The team has made a lot of friends in recent seasons with its hard-working ethos and talented squad. Brienne Stairs is a top class striker and, along with Karli Johansen, Hannah Haughn and Amanda Woodcroft can cause any team problems on their day. Captain Natalie Sourisseau and Sara McManus are two more highly experienced players who will add stability to the squad.
Rob Short has recently taken over as Head Coach and will bring his own vast international experience to bear with the squad.
Korea qualified by virtue of a second place finish in the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup 2022. The best finish by Korea was in 1990 where they finished third. A 12th place finish in London 2018 reflected a poor performance and the team has been rebuilding since. The team’s form in Oman for the Asia Cup signals a new intent and purpose.
There will also be a sense of the unknown for their opponents. Only captain Eunbi Cheon and Kim Hyunji have over 100 caps and five players are making their debuts at the World Cup. Han Jin Soo is an experienced coach who knows how to get the most strategically from a match.
Spain qualified as host nation and recent performances in the FIH Hockey Pro League indicate this is a team that is confident in its growth and direction of travel. The Red Sticks finished in bronze medal position in 2018 and many of that squad will be attempting to repeat that feat this time around.
Head Coach Adrian Lock has been with the squad since 2013 and has been building a real sense of legacy with his team. Players such as Georgina Oliva, Maria Lopez, Beatriz Perez and Begona Garcia are the bedrock of the team but throw in the scoring ability of Xantal Gine, the audacious skills of Lucia Jimenez and the attacking hunger of Marta Segu and you see a really well-rounded team.
Pool D contains three teams that have not had the benefit of FIH Hockey Pro League action as Australia, Belgium, Japan and South Africa get ready to take to the field in Terrassa.
Australia’s international action since the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 has been limited to Trans-Tasman competition against New Zealand. Despite this, Australia will arrive in Spain as a team to be wary. They have won this competition twice (1994 and 1998) and won silver three times (1990, 2006 and 2014). In 2018 they finished fourth.
Current Head Coach Katrina Powell was a member of the gold medal team of 1998 and, with several months of hard work on the training field under her belt, she will be looking to lead this team to a podium finish.
The team is talking up the fact that other nations haven’t seen them in action, combined with a real fire to get back onto the world stage among the players. While there is a new look to the squad that played in 2018, with five players arriving with fewer than five caps, there is also a backbone of experience. Captain Jane Claxton is approaching 200 caps and co-captain Kaitlin Nobbs is nearing 100. Another co-captain, Brooke Peris also has more than 180 caps. Combine this knowledge with the desire to show Australian hockey to the world again and the Hockeyroos could be there at the business end of the event.
UPDATE: Australia were dealt late injury blows with co-captain Brooke Peris, defender Meg Pearce ruled out.
Belgium are a side that has benefited from FIH Pro League action and, oddly, from not being at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. This latter point was made by former Red Panther Jill Boon, who said the team had been able to quietly develop and grow for the past four years without the intense pressure of an Olympic Games. Despite a high number of caps among their ranks, Belgium is the team with the youngest average age at the competition (24.11)
The team is packed with talented players that combine the exciting use of 3D skills and long aerials with a disciplined possession game when needed. Barbara Nelen, Stephanie Vanden Borre and Michelle Struck offer stability. Ambre Ballenghien, Abi Raye and Charlotte Englebert are exciting flair players and Alix Gerniers and Louise Versavel are showing the form of their lives currently.
In 2018, Belgium finished a disappointing 10th, expect much better for Raoul Ehren’s team this time.
Japan won the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup 2022 beating India, Korea and China along the way. Under the charge of former India goalkeeper Jude Menezes, the team has grown and – in keeping with their nickname – blossomed in the past few months.
It is a team packed with talent and experience. Captain Yuri Nagai, Hazuki Nagai and Shihori Oikawa are multi-capped stalwarts in the team. Yu Asai is unflappable in defence. New squad member Kaho Tanaka may only have a handful of caps so far but she has already proved herself a dynamo in front of goal.
Japan’s best finish at a World Cup was fifth in 2006 and in London in 2018 they finished 13th, despite playing some very stylish hockey. This year the Cherry Blossoms are aiming for the high branches.
South Africa are once more the African continents sole representative and, as always, they will arrive in Terrassa ready to battle for their country and their continent’s honour. The team’s best ever World Cup finish was 7th in 1998 but in 2014 they achieved a commendable ninth, finishing above their ranking.
South Africa has competed in every FIH Women’s World Cup since 1998 and they have been solid performers at every edition.
The team arrives in Terrassa with a number of inexperienced players but a backbone of athletes who know exactly what competition of this level looks like. Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, Lilian du Plessis, Bernadette Coston and Quanita Bobbs are hardened campaigners who will always leave everything on the pitch. Temper this resolve with the energy and hard running of Hanrie Louw, Bianca Wood and the goal scoring potential of Jean-Leigh du Toit and it is a compelling team to watch.
Giles Bonnet is back in charge as Head Coach and he too knows just how to get the most from his players.
Information as provided by Hockey India and FIH Media